Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
Officers at thousands of law enforcement agencies are wearing tiny cameras to record their interactions with the public, but in many cases the devices are being rolled out faster than departments are able to create policies to govern their use. And some rank-and-file officers are worried the technology might ultimately be used to derail their careers if, for example, an errant comment about a superior is captured on tape.
Most law enforcement leaders and civil liberties advocates believe the cameras will ultimately help officers because the devices give them a way to record events from their point of view at a time when citizens armed with cellphones are actively scrutinizing their every move.
It was bound to come to this. Give the same weapons to police that the public has. Although it’s the police who started the fight…
A Rockville man’s desire to capture on video the interaction that comes when police pull drivers over didn’t go as planned. Instead of being a quiet observer with a video camera, he ended up in the middle of a heated confrontation, harassed and manhandled by two officers.
And this Rockville man is far from an isolated case. All one has to do is try video or audio recording a police encounter, even if it’s not your own, and wait for the police reaction. So it was only expected that if individuals could counter police aggression with their cameras or cellphones, police themselves would be outfitted with similar technology. Certainly, in the technology laden society of 21st century American life, the issue of recording each other has been brought front and center. The Rodney King beating video used in his claims of police brutality certainly brought the particular issue of recording police to prominence.
It’s important to avoid the appearance of unfairness in that whatever the technology it doesn’t always tell the simple truth. Recordings of any kind aren’t objective, any more than the news media outlets, be they radio, television, internet or print, are objective in their reporting. There is no such thing. It’s about who holds the device, and in this case it’s about the police recording people they encounter. The device is just a means of evidential support of an opinion or attitude. It’s the person holding the video camera who has the perspective.
Having police using technology everyone else already is won’t solve the fundamental problem. At the core of using recording devices on each other has everything to do with a society so distorted by the evil of its day that it no longer recognizes it is being watched. American culture is so enamored with itself, so enthralled with its own importance, that it is oblivious to the certain watchfulness of the God it has rejected. In its self-sufficiency it is mindless of the Omniscience. The Roman poet Juvenal indeed said it well. Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who will watch the watchers? It begs the point that, God does.